British Values at Bishop Gilpin
The DfE has produced guidance on the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
The aim is to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of our children and to ensure that, when they leave school, they are well-prepared for life in modern Britain.
At Bishop Gilpin, these values are firmly embedded in the ethos of the school.
Our school rules align with British values as follows:
We are caring - mutual respect, tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, individual liberty
We make good choices - democracy, individual liberty, rule of law, mutual respect, tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
We are safe - individual liberty, rule of law, mutual respect
We do our best - individual liberty, mutual respect
Our school values also support British Values:
Relationships, Health and Character Development
The Bishop Gilpin RHCD curriculum cross-references the content of lessons with British values. In this way teachers are able to plan their teaching to reinforce messages being promoted in the whole school
In addition, the school actively promotes individual British values, in the following ways:
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. Each class elects two representatives to the School Council, one to the Eco Council and one to children’s Faith Group each year. The Councils meet regularly and representatives will voice suggestions and concerns from their classmates. The Councils are genuinely able to effect change within the school. Our Faith Group feedback has led collective worship being ‘interactive’ more frequently, as well as increased use of images and videos to support pupil understanding.
Our School Council makes many decisions about school life, including which charitable acts to engage in (such as the MacMillan Cancer coffee mornings), and which charities we prioritise for support (such as Blue Dragon and Wimbledon Guild).
There is an annual Pupil Survey, which provides another opportunity for children to voice their opinions. The Senior Leadership Team and Governing Body take into account the results of these surveys, when reviewing progress against the School Development Plan. In our most recent survey 99.4% of pupils reported that they enjoy school, whilst we also learned about the impact of our character development programme:
“Resourcefulness has helped us to become a lot more independent e.g. having to research things at our own will. I am also more reflective... I would not have made progress at all if it weren't for me checking and my teacher giving me feedback.”
Mock elections are held, in order for children to develop the ability to argue and defend points of view (not necessarily their own) and we often request visits from our local MP. Our children have also written independently to our local MP and received responses.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be the school rules or the laws of the land, is consistently reinforced throughout the school. Pupils are taught that while laws govern us, they also keep us safe and about the consequences when laws are broken. Children learn the school rules from Reception onwards and are encouraged to reflect on their behaviour, with reference to those rules.
When resolving conflicts, children are asked to reflect on which of the school rules or values they have not followed and how the situation might be different if they had. Individual assemblies and visits from legal experts help to reinforce the importance of the Rule of Law. For example, during a visit by the Solicitor General, trainee lawyers supported our year 6 children to create courtrooms and learned about trial by jury. Trials were held following proper courtroom procedures to establish whether ‘Goldilocks’ had broken any UK laws. We have now built this into our year 6 curriculum as the learning was so rich.
Children are also given the opportunity to take part in Bikeability (cycling road safety) courses, in KS2, and to learn about the laws governing road safety.
Our children are actively encouraged to make choices for themselves and the school provides a safe environment for them to learn and understand that their behaviour and the choices they make have consequences.
The concept of making good and poor choices is reinforced from an early age through the school rules and the Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy.
Cause and effect maps are used, when poor choices are made, so that children understand the effects of their behaviour on others. Conversely, good choices are praised and reinforced. Children are also taught how to make safe choices in RHCD E-safety lessons.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance for those with different Faiths and Beliefs
As a culturally diverse, Church of England school, these values are at the heart of the Bishop Gilpin ethos. Children, staff, governors and volunteers treat each other with respect and this is underpinned by the school values of Forgiveness, Equality, Caring and Thankfulness and the Behaviour and Anti Bullying Policy.
Members of the school community are encouraged to reflect regularly on the impact of their behaviour and its consequences. Each year, the school celebrates Black History Month, Disability History Month and, in the summer term, Equalities Day.
Equalities day builds upon our school value of equality, with visits from, for example: speakers with disabilities, the LGBT+ group from a local secondary school, Merton Muslim Women and an Indian dance troupe. The day ends with a reflection on the life of Jo Cox MP and her conviction that “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”.
RE lessons provide children with a secure grounding in the major world religions and following feedback from parents/carers and the CofE guidance, we now include other worldviews in RE lessons.
The school has strong links with St Mary’s and St Mark’s churches: members of the clergy lead collective worship each week and the children regularly attend services at the churches. In addition, visits are arranged to other religions’ places of worship, such as the Wat Buddhapadipa Temple.
At Bishop Gilpin we act as courageous advocates and learn to challenge and support anyone expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values or and/or those of the school.
Please visit our school to find out more.